Thursday, December 18, 2014

End of An Era At Indiana Freemasons Hall

My friend and brother, WB James Dillman served ten years on the board of Indiana Freemasons Hall in Indianapolis, and eight of them as president. During his tenure, he oversaw an incredible array of improvements to the building. Last night was his final meeting, as a new president was elected and Jim leaves the board. From his farewell address today:

 I am proud of the many improvements that have been made to Indiana Freemasons’ Hall in the last eight years. All totaled, they amounted to nearly $1,000,000. The parking lot and south entrance were demolished and reconstructed and a handicap ramp was installed. We have two new gas boilers, a new condensate system, new pre-heat and reheat coils, and numerous energy-saving measures were made to the air and steam handling system. We have new windows throughout the building and extensive repairs have been made to the roof. The second floor kitchen has been completely remodeled and new appliances, including a commercial dishwasher, were purchased. The building has been completely re-plumbed from the basement to the third floor. New electrical boxes have been installed on seven of the eight floors and much additional electrical work completed. LED lighting was added to the exterior of the building. Several other areas have been painted and re-carpeted. Fulltime private security was added with the assistance of the Indiana Masonic Home Foundation and Grand Lodge of Indiana. A new welcome desk greatly improved the appearance of our beautiful marble lobby. In addition, the Indiana Masonic Home Foundation and Grand Lodge of Indiana demonstrated their belief in the future of the building as both of their offices underwent extensive remodeling that required significant investments. In 2009, the monumental task of moving the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana from Franklin to Indiana Freemasons’ Hall was accomplished. Through much hard work on the part of Director Mike Brumback, PGM, and the Library/Museum Board of Directors, we have a beautiful new library and museum that is attracting many visitors to the building from all over the world. Many of these visitors also take the opportunity to tour the building and even though the building is still a little rough around the edges in several locations, the comments are almost universally glowing.

Jim is one of the most dedicated Masons you will ever meet. He spent an incredible amount of time at Freemasons Hall, and many times arrived in the mornings at the crack of dawn, and catching a little sleep in the office later in the day in his chair. Few men could have accomplished what Jim has done in the last eight years. The new president, Gary Selig, has some mighty big shoes to fill.

This is truly the end of an era as my longtime friend Nathan Brindle also leaves after eight years as secretary of the board. Nathan at one time was the secretary for nine Masonic organizations, and never dropped a stitch. He and I joined Masonry at Broad Ripple Lodge in Indianapolis at the same time, and he served as Master the year after me, after just three years in the fraternity. He is an accomplished leader, and I have been proud to call him my closest friend since we were sixteen years old.

I served on the board for seven years, and am proud of our achievements. We have helped to stabilize what was an endangered building, and I think we helped to cement it's future. There is still much for the new board to accomplish, and I wish them well. I hope they lead with the same vision that Jim, Nathan and I, and the rest of the dedicated members and volunteers over the years have. It is the home of our Grand Lodge here in Indiana, and is owned by every Indiana Mason. It deserves their support.

Jim is the president of the Masonic Society this year and Nathan is the ongoing secretary. They do just as great a job at leading that organization as they have with Freemasons Hall. I couldn't be prouder of these two men, and I am honored to call them my friends and brothers. Good luck to both of these fine men as they move on to the new phase of their lives.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

England Once Again Engages In A Masonic Witchhunt

Speaking of the foreign press in the previous post, England's The Guardian has published a completely unfounded rumor about a notorious event in 1989--the Hillsborough disaster. I was immediately suspicious when the cop making the allegation of a "Masonic conspiracy" to cover up police inaction when he referred to another cop as a "grandmaster of a particularly influential lodge." These allegations go back to the Jack Straw days when all members of the judiciary and police officers were required to publicly state that they were Freemasons, the only group singled out for this treatment.

Here's the article. Click the link for more.

Senior South Yorkshire police officers who were freemasons orchestrated a “masonic conspiracy” to shift the blame after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, the inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims have been told.Maxwell Groome, a constable at the time, said that after the disaster at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground, “the word” inside the force was that freemason officers held a meeting to blame superintendent Roger Marshall.Groome said he heard that the meeting took place in portable cabins at South Yorkshire police’s area office, and was attended by Chief superintendent David Duckenfield, who had commanded the match.Questioned by Michael Mansfield QC, representing 75 families whose relatives were killed at Hillsborough, Groome said he believed Duckenfield was “a grandmaster of a particularly influential lodge” – the Dore lodge in Sheffield.Groome also told the inquest that senior officers pressured junior officers to change their statements after the disaster, because they were “terrified” of criticism of the force’s command. He said he was “duped” into agreeing to the changes, because he believed if he did not, he would never be called to give evidence to Lord Justice Taylor’s official inquiry or to the first inquest, and his statement would be “magicked away, dumped in a box, never to see the light of day again”.Groome said a colleague, PC Brookes – whose first name was not given in court – called the inquiry team at West Midlands police to complain it was “a masonic conspiracy”.Groome said Brookes told him West Midlands police asked if he could prove the conspiracy. Brookes told them he couldn’t, and Groome said they concluded it would not be investigated.Asked why in earlier accounts about the events of the day he did not include the rumoured meeting of freemason officers, Groome replied: “Basically, I’d have been committing professional suicide.”Marshall, who was in command outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles at Hillsborough, had requested a large exit gate to be opened, to alleviate a crush of Liverpool supporters outside the ground, and allow a large number in. The jury has heard that police did not close off a tunnel inside, which led to the Leppings Lane terrace’s crowded central “pens”, that many of the incoming fans headed down it, and the lethal crush happened in those pens.Groome said he subsequently heard of the meeting between senior officers, said to have included Duckenfield, superintendents Roger Greenwood and Bernard Murray, Inspector Steven Sewell and Chief inspector David Beal.“Being unable to prove it, I believe that most of them were masons,” he said.The coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, sent out the jury of seven women and four men to allow legal discussions after Groome gave his evidence about the freemasons’ meeting. At the end of the day, the coroner referred the jury to “evidence of a meeting said by Mr Groome, on the basis of rumour, to have taken place on the morning of April 16”.Goldring told them: “I should say this quite clearly to you: we have no other evidence than this rumour, said to emanate from the [South Yorkshire police] area office. It amounts to no more than what the witness described as ‘scuttlebutt’.’”

Queensland, Australia Masonic Lodge Vandalized

Vandalism of Masonic lodges is not isolated to the US. The lodge in Queensland, Australia was hit yesterday by vandals who painted slogans and words on the bricks. In this article by Amy Remelkis she describes the damage, and I didn't appreciate the fact that she went into what one of the words meant. It never ceases in the foreign press.

For photos go to this article in the Brisbane Times here:

Freemasons have been accused of being 'baby killers' and 'terrorists' in a vandal attack on a Queensland Masonic Lodge.The Wynnum Masonic Centre, which was established in Brisbane's bayside in 1894, was targeted by vandals who covered its outer walls in obscenities, upside down crosses and terrorist accusations sometime on Tuesday night.Included among the graffiti was the word 'mabone' which appears to be a reference to 'm…….',  thought to be a "secret word" among freemasons,  meaning the 'Grand Lodge is open'.Freemasons are an international brotherhood society which prides itself on being non-religious and non-political.A spokesman for Queensland Freemasons said the vandal attack was disappointing."There are people in this world who obviously have different standards to the rest of us," he said."We live in an equitable society and it is just unfortunate [this has happened]."Police are investigating.The Wynnum vandal attack follows four Townsville youths making and displaying a racist sign on Tuesday.Premier Campbell Newman called for the community to "come together", but said he didn't believe charges were necessary."This is a democracy, we believe in free speech and I think that in circumstances, a legal approach is the way to go," he said on Tuesday."Again, my message to people is this is a great country, it is a great state – the way it remains a great place is if we all get on. "Let's just get on with our lives, let's live our lives, let's reach out to one another, let's look beyond people's race or religion, as we always have, and then criminals like the deceased [gunman] in Sydney don't win."

H/T to  Alex Ruthman

Friday, December 12, 2014

St. Louis Selling The New Masonic Temple Downtown

The Masons in St. Louis are offering their magnificent downtown temple, known as the New Masonic temple,  for sale for a paltry $6 million.Very sad to lose this incredible place. We just keep selling off our own heritage.  From KSDK.com:
ST. LOUIS - The historic Masonic Temple on Lindell Boulevard is up for sale.
The Masonic Temple Association of St. Louis has put the 386,000-square-foot building on the market for $6 million.
The temple itself has seen its brushes with history and history-making persons. It houses the former officer of then-Senator and Free Mason Grand Master Harry Truman, prior to his becoming President of the United States. And before flying solo to Paris aboard the Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindbergh was initiated as mason at the temple. Actor Ernest Borgnine, a mason, not only attended meetings there, but also filmed a scene on the temple steps for the 1980 film Escape from New York.
Architectural firm Eames and Young designed the temple, with consulting architect Albert Groves. Groundbreaking for the temple took place in 1923, with the dedication and opening happening in 1926. It would be Thomas Young's last major project before retiring in 1927; William Eames died in 1915.
The Masonic Temple was constructed in three receding stages, symbolic of the three steps in masonry. The building features 14 levels: six full floor and eight mezzanine levels.
The 185-foot tall temple showcases Greek Ionic style architecture on the exterior, with various styles inside, and massive triple bronze front doors.
The main lobby was built using Bedford limestone with gray limestone trim and marble finishing. The lobby also has a 38-foot mural titled "The Origins of Freemasonry," created by noted African-American artist Jessie Housley Holliman in 1941 and dedicated by Truman. It is the only surviving Holliman mural located in a local public building.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

GL of Texas Approves Prince Hall Visitation

Following on the heels of its Prince Hall brethren, the Grand Lodge of Texas A.F. & A.M. has formally approved inver-visitation privileges to the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas F & A.M.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Prestonian Lecturer for 2015 Announced

The United Grand Lodge of England has announced its Prestonian Lecturer for 2015.
Roger Burt will travel England and beyond to present “Wherever Dispersed: The Traveling  Mason,” and raise funds for a registered charity in the process. Burt is a Past Master of both Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 and Vectis Lodge No. 3075. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Geological Society, Burt also is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter, and an Honorary Professor in the former Center for Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Quattro Coronati Cigars


Worshipful Brother Timothy Hogan is well known as an author and traveling lecturer. As of last weekend, he has stepped into the shoes of a tobacconist, with a complete line of fraternal-themed Dominican cigars. Introduced at the Colorado Masonic Symposium, Quattro Coronati Cigars are handmade cigars, "made by brethren for brethren."

The Magus is a double corona at 7 x 50. Ten to a box that retails for $144.

The Sanctum is a figurado measuring 5 7/8 x 56. Also ten to a box that retails for $144.

The Agape is a robusto shape. Ten to a box that retails for $144.

The Ruffian, a toro shape, also sells for $144 for a box of ten.

The Gran Solomon is a mighty 7.8 inch cigar with a 63 ring that comes in a box of five cigars, each in its own coffin, for $165. I am told it takes two hours to smoke completely.

The Anthology is a sampler containing two cigars of each shape. Also 10 to a box for $144.

Each box is beautifully decorated and each is a work of art. Shipping is free in the United States, and credit cards are accepted.

Tim's partners in this endeavor are Brothers Eduardo R. Adam and Oliver M. S. Guillet. The tobacco is raised in the Dominican Republic and hand-crafted by the Aging Room, ranked Number 2 in the world by Cigar Aficionado Magazine.

Order online here: http://www.4coronati.com


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Colorado Masonic Symposium

The Colorado Masonic Symposium was a tremendous weekend of fun and information, and the organizers need to be congratulated. Ben Williams and the Education Committee did a great job of programming, breaks, breakout sessions and meals, on just three months' notice. Visitors came from as far as Wyoming, Kansas and Missouri, and I think everyone was very satisfied with the program. Next year should be even better. Colorado Masons are extremely lucky to have a Grand Lodge that supports Masonic education a top priority. Be proud and sign up early for next year!

Brother Tim Hogan was there to give a great lecture, but also to introduce a line of fraternal cigars that it was agreed are second to none outside of Cuba. I'll post more ordering information once I unpack all of my stuff.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Speaking at Colorado Masonic Symposium This Saturday and Sunday

I'll be speaking at the first Colorado Masonic Symposium next Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23, at the Colorado Masonic Center in Colorado Springs. Joining me will be John Palmer, PGM of Tennessee and editor of the Knights Templar Magazine, and author Rex Hutchens, PGM of Arizona.

Tickets are $75 for both days with all meals; $50 for Saturday with meals; $35 for Sunday with meals; $20 for Saturday with no meals; and $15 for Sunday with no meals.

For more information go to http://www.coloradomasonicsymposium.org


Friday, November 14, 2014

WBro. Zeke Lombard of Germania Lodge #46, Louisiana

From Brother Michael R. Poll in Louisiana:
I would like to extend my congratulations to Dr. Azikiwe (Zeke) K. Lombard and Germania Lodge #46, located in New Orleans. This Wednesday (11/12/14), Dr. Lombard was elected to the office of Worshipful Master of Germania #46. WBro. Lombard is the first African-American Mason (that we know of) to be elected Worshipful Master of a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana.

Congratulations, Worshipful Brother Zeke. Well earned!

Mark Tabbert's Blog

Brother Mark Tabbert has started a new blog to chronicle his new book project about the Masonic life of President George Washington. Check it out here: http://georgewashingtonfreemason.org

Monday, November 10, 2014

Masonic Challenge, Help a good man in his new life

A young man who entered WBro. Cliff Porter's life under horrible circumstances needs Masonic help. Go to the website, read his story and make a donation, whatever you can to help.

CLICK HERE.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Prince Hall GL of Texas Agrees to Visitation

News is coming out of Texas that the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Texas has voted at their mid-winter session to allow visitation from the mainstream Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM, and is waiting to see if it is reciprocated.

Several years ago, the two grand lodges agreed to recognize each other without visitation. If this gets accomplished, it will be a big step forward in the South.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Speaking at Hope Lodge No. 150 in Hope, Indiana

I will be speaking at the Honored Ladies Night in Hope Lodge, located in Hope, Indiana, near Columbus. Looking forward to being there! The event starts at 6:00PM. The lodge is located at 9380 State Road 9, in Hope.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

York Rite Degree Day in Illinois

York Rite Masons in Illinois and Indiana take note. Please plan to attend and support the joint Illinois/Indiana Chapter Day, Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 
Hosted by the Valley of Danville AASR—Masonic Center—109 West North Street, Danville IL 
Honoring Companions Rob Beldon from Illinois and from Indiana who have labored well in our quarries. 
If you have candidates for this event, please contact the Candidate Coordinator listed below. 

Agenda 
 8:00 AM Registration 
 9:00 AM Degree Work begins 

The 4th & 5th degrees will be put on by Indiana, the 6th & 7th degrees will be put on by Illinois 
Lunch will be pulled pork bbq, smoked beef brisket, potato casserole, and pineapple sheet cake. Cost is $10. 

Please make reservations by November 17th to Ryan Irby (contact details below )

For more information, please visit the Illinois Grand Chapter website at www.ram-il.org 
Candidate Coordinators: Ryan Irby (217) 918-0247, or at rwirby13@gmail.com (Illinois) 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cliff Porter Speaking at Lodge Vitruvian 10/28 in Indianapolis

Come join us for an evening of fellowship and scholarly discussion on the evening of Tuesday, October 28, 2014 AD, 6014 AL.
We are determined to complete our business in one hour.

7:00 - 8:00 PM Stated Meeting
Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 F&AM
Broad Ripple Masonic Temple
1716 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46220-2338
“In the style of European Lodges, members are expected to dress in tuxedo for all Communications of the Lodge. Members also purchase their own regalia, (apron, collar, gloves, case), according to Lodge Vitruvian specifications.”
Visitors dress in tuxedo, Highland dress, or business attire.
If brethren choose to arrive at Lodge Vitruvian in Highland dress, they should wear a black Argyle Jacket, or Prince Charlie, with a tuxedo shirt and black bow tie, or a Montrose Doublet, and black leather or patent leather shoes.
8:30 - 10:30 PM Festive Board
Capri Italian Ristorante
2602 Ruth Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46240-3283
Keynote Speaker:
W. Bro. Cliff Porter
Subject:
The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry: Alchemy, Gnosis, and the Science of the Craft
Visiting brethren are welcome to join us for the Stated Meeting, ladies and guests are welcome to join us for the Festive Board.
Each attendee will be responsible for the cost of his meal.
In an effort to assist our Secretary, I am requesting dinner reservations from members and guests, and regrets from our members.

Sincerely and fraternally,
carson.c.smith@gmail.com
Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 F&AM
W. Bro. Carson C. Smith
2207 Van Ness Place
Indianapolis, IN 46240-4703
(317) 319-3712 Cell

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rosicrucians Moving From Masonic Week to Next November in Louisville

An announcement from the SRCF, the Rosicrucian Society:

The High Council of Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis has been considering the idea of meeting independently and expanding Rosicrucian programs for several years.  During the past several years High Council meetings have doubled in size, with members enjoying the grades portrayed and asking for more.  Some suggested adding, workshops, seminars and additional degrees, with the continuation of notable Rosicrucian speakers.

For years the Society has met as a part of Masonic Week in the Washington D.C. area.  While that venue has been successful, the number of other Masonic groups meeting during the week has doubled.  The ability to have more time for additional degrees or workshops would have been difficult, if not impossible to accomplish given the time constraints.  Snowy inclement weather has added a new dimension to meeting in Washington D.C. during the winter months. 

The steady growth of our Colleges, particularly in the western states, has created a desire to relocate to a more central location.  After the last several years of snowy weather encumbering travel, a change in either location or time was necessary.  This matter has been discussed among the Chief Adepts and High Council members through a plethora of e-mails and phone calls.

The agreed upon date is November 6-8, 2015, the first weekend in November, and Louisville is the agreed location. We will have the RSKO on Friday Evening, and then we plan on starting the High Council at 8 AM Saturday, with seminars, degree conferrals, etc., all day ending with the Banquet on Saturday evening. 

On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, an agreement, was finalized with the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY.  The Brown is owned by Galtex Corporation, former owners of the Hotel Washington, where Masonic Week met for years.  The Hotel is steeped in history, is elegant, and the place to build a tradition.  Further, it is affordable with a rate of $129, $30 less than 2014 prices!  Check out their website: www.brownhotel.com.  Those who miss the elegance of the Hotel Washington are going to love this Hotel.

Reservations may be made on line by going to:
           
https://bookings.ihotelier.com/bookings.jsp?groupID=1205886&hotelID=13721


or call 888-888-5252 and tell them you are with SRICF to receive our rate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Illus. Brother Art de Hoyos in White Plains, NY 10/23


On October 23rd, the Valley of the Hudson, AASR NMJ will host Illustrious Brother Arturo de Hoyos for a talk entitled "The Art of Rituals in Freemasonry." The dinner is $10 and is open to all Master Masons. Dinner begins at 6PM, and Art's talk will begin at 8PM.

It will be held at the White Plains Masonic Temple, 262 Martine Ave., White Plains, NY.

For more information, contact mannyrios@gmail.com or call 917-562-7064.

Grand Lodge of New York Visual Tour



UntappedCities.com has done a visual tour of the Grand Lodge of New York's magnificent building in NYC.

Click here to see it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital


From an editorial in the Pioneer Press in Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Generous people make a difference every day, all around our region.
We recognize their commitment, in particular this week, with word of a new name in Twin Cities health care: the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
The change recognizes a gift of $25 million from the Minnesota Masonic Charities and a legacy of support -- spanning the last 60 years -- that now exceeds $125 million. The gifts make the Masons its largest donor, according to the university.
The new gift will support pediatric research and care delivery at the hospital on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Last year, it cared for children from 80 of Minnesota's 87 counties.
Giving from the Masons includes $75 million for cancer research and care since 2008, and additional gifts that began back in 1955.
With support from the Masons, the University built the 80-bed Masonic Memorial Hospital, dedicated in 1958, and the Masonic Cancer Research Building in the mid-'90s. The Masonic Cancer Center, so named after a 2008 pledge, continues to have a profound impact, a joint statement from the university and Minnesota Masonic Charities said, and the Masonic Cancer Clinic, currently under construction, will provide compassionate care until a cure is in hand.
"The Masonic Fraternity is passionate about helping Minnesotans lead longer and healthier lives," Eric Neetenbeek, Minnesota Masonic Charities president and CEO, said in a statement.
"By supporting the children's hospital, we hope to facilitate new treatments and cures that will benefit patients and families across the state and around the world."
Minnesota Masonic Charities, the nonprofit charitable organization of Minnesota Masonry, is one of the largest grantmakers in the state. "Our commitment may be drawn from tradition, but our drive comes from today's most pressing issues," the organization's website says, noting its focus in five areas: education, cancer research, elder services, community outreach and the preservation of Masonic history.
A Pioneer Press report noted another major gift so far in the history of the children's hospital, which opened in 2008 and in 2009 was named the Amplatz Children's Hospital after a $50 million donation by the daughter of Dr. Kurt Amplatz, a former radiology professor at the university who invented a cardiac device that closes abnormal holes in children's hearts.
In March, Caroline Amplatz allowed university officials to remove her father's name from the hospital, which is affiliated with the U of M Medical School, the report said. She opted to relinquish naming rights to open the opportunity for another donor, according to a university spokeswoman.
With this week's announcement -- and its legacy of philanthropy -- Minnesota Masonic Charities allows the university to "develop leading academic medicine programs that change the lives of families throughout the state and nation, and around the world," wrote U of M President Eric Kaler.
The power of such philanthropy and generosity is remarkable, he said. "It confirms the deep affection and trust so many Minnesotans have for the university. That this gift will deliver invaluable benefits to children, our most vulnerable patients, especially delights and touches me."
Such good-for-kids giving is good for all of us, and it makes Minnesota a better place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Speaking Sunday at Escurial Lodge No. 7, Virginia City, NV


I'll be speaking Sunday evening at the rededication of Escurial Lodge No. 7 in Virginia City, Nevada. This is their 150th year gala anniversary, chartered in October 1864.

Lodge is opened by Grand Lodge at 2:00PM, followed by the events of the evening at Piper's Opera House. Speakers begin at 6:30, featuring Grand Master MW John Buffington, WBro. Jim Clark, WM of Escurial, Ron James, Nevada State historian, and then me.


Escurial 7 was one of the four original lodges on the Comstock. It was originally chartered by the California Grand Lodge as Escurial # 171, on Oct. 13,1864.  It later became Escurial # 7 under the Grand Lodge of Nevada on Jan. 18,1865 shortly after Nevada became a State.
Originally, Escurial Lodge met in the same lodge building as Virginia # 3, and the two lodges shared the same quarters for many years.
On May 19, 1875, a fire consumed much of Virginia City, including the lodge building that Escurial 7 and Virginia 3 were meeting in at the time.  This necessitated that the two lodges would meet in the Odd Fellows hall, while a new lodge was being constructed.
On September 3, 1875, a second fire then destroyed the Odd Fellows hall, along with all the Masonic lodge records of Escurial 7 and Virginia 3.  Following this fire, the first of the “Masons on the Mountain” meetings was held on top of Mt. Davidson.
Construction of another new lodge was under way when, on October 26, 1875, a third fire destroyed much of the Virginia City, once again, including the lodge.
The present lodge building was constructed in 1987 through the generosity of Brother Francis N. Fisher, PM, PGM, a long time resident of Virginia City and a member of Escurial Lodge # 7.
Many of the present furnishings were salvaged from the fourth lodge building, constructed after the fires, and are still in use today.  The lodge jewels are fashioned from the silver mined from the Comstock Lode.  The upper lodge room was designed and built as a copy of the original lodge room of 1863.
Approximately 730 Master Masons have joined Escurial Lodge # 7 and signed the by-laws since it’s humble beginning in 1864.

 Looking forward to being there.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fraternal, Service Groups Battle Declining Membership

From the article "Fraternal, Service Groups Battle Declining Membership" in the Lafayette, Indiana Journal Courier Online, by Taya Flores:

It was the "Greatest Generation," or World World II veterans, who triggered the major boom in many organizations after the war ended in 1945.
"They were ready to own this society, to be a part of everything," said Duane Vaught,deputy grandmaster of Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, a Christian-oriented fraternal organization open only to Freemasons.
 
"Unbelievable numbers of them joined everything. Our membership skyrocketed starting in the mid-'40s until the mid-'60s. Our membership was huge in the '50s. Everybody wanted to be a member."But their grandchildren — baby boomers who came of age around 1970 — were not joiners, he said.
"We are taking in a pretty decent number of members each year, but the deaths among the WWII generation offset the people joining every single year," he said. "That's the unfortunate part."
 
George Braatz, executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America, agreed. 
"During the Vietnam War, across our country, there was a feeling that no organization could be trusted," he said. "The people of that age did not participate. They did not get involved in service organizations."

[snip]
 
Other groups, such as the local Freemasons, say they are finding results simply by being more visible. In the past, Freemasons were not allowed to tell anyone they were Masonic. Due to declining numbers, however, they have become more visible. 
"Freemasonry doesn't recruit, but we do work to try and attract," said J. Keith Henry, member of Lafayette Lodge 123. "Attraction is passive. We give them the opportunity (and) information. We talk to them, but they have to make the first step and talk to us."His lodge sets up an informational booth at the Mosey Down Main Street festivals during summer months.  
Decline started in the '80s, when the massive WWII membership influx began dying out. By 2000, however, the membership numbers started to bounce back, Henry said. "But they are not coming back super fast," he said. "We don't have massive numbers like they did after the wars." There are about 150 members in his lodge now, he said. He could not easily locate past membership numbers, he added.  
He attributes the uptick in membership to forming relationships with Purdue University fraternities and Ivy Tech Community College and restoring the Merou Grotto — the social club for Master Masons on North River Road in West Lafayette. They restored the prophet's lounge and the dining room on the second floor. The facility is also used for outreach, such as a community flea market held during the summer.  
"Believe it or not, guys want to find things that don't always involve going out and drinking," he said. The new members have been age 45 and younger. In the '90s, the average member age was in the 70s, Henry said. 
Technology has also worked in the group's favor. "A lot of people think social media is great, but it lacks the physical connection, the handshake, the breaking of bread with your brothers," he said. "A lot of people lack that social connection and they are starting to look for it."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry & History 5/29-31, 2015

Convened by the journal Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society in cooperation with the Bibliothèque Nationale, the first World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History: Research in Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society, focuses on the study of ritual, secrecy, and civil society vis-à-vis the dynamics of Masonic scholarship around the world. The conference aims to explore how civil society, secrecy, and ritual have been important elements during different episodes of local and world histories, and indeed still are.
The conference will be held biennially in Paris, and hopes to open new doors while promoting multilingual and multicultural scholarship in areas such as, the relations between such Masonic-related subjects as the Companionnage, guilds, friendly societies, and Greek fraternities. 

The call for papers is now open, and perspectives on and interpretations of all time periods and geographic zones are welcome. The standard length of individual presentations is planned to be between 15 and 20 minutes, further details will be administered nearer the start date. Paper and panel proposals should be submitted to Whitney Shepard, Registrar of the Conference, at wshepard@ipsonet.org. Papers accepted for presentation will be published byWestphalia Press in three collections: Vital Masonic Scholarship in the 21st CenturyNew Research in Secret Societies, and European Scholarship in Secrecy and Ritualism. Additionally, some presentations will be made available for online streaming and video recorded through the American Public University System
Organizing Committee: Guillermo De Los Reyes (Conference Chair- University of Houston), 
Paul Rich (George Mason University), Daniel Guiterrez-Sandoval (Policy Studies Organization), 
Pierre Mollier (Editor, Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society), Alain Bauer (National Conservatory 
for Arts and Crafts), Maria Eugenia Vazquez-Semadeni (University of California, Los Angeles), 
Brent Morris (Scottish Rite Supreme Council), John Belton (Manchester Association of Masonic 
Research), Yasha Beresiner (InterCol London)
In order to make possible the attendance of all interested parties, the sponsors have agreed that there will be no registration fee for the 2015 conference. This owes much to the great support of the Bibliothèque Nationale in being such a generous host. One of the world's extraordinary libraries with a remarkable Masonic collection, it is well worth exploring while you are in Paris. And although there is no cost, it is imperative that all attendees and participants still register, so that we may facilitate the proper arrangements and accomodations. Please note: the fee is only waived upon application to the Registrar of the Conference, Whitney Shepard. Early inquiry is appreciated in regards to special requests for hearing enhancement, physically challenged access, child care, or other potential needs of our guests.
There is a metro that adjoins the Library, for easy access to the conference. Complimentary coffee and refreshments will be provided throughout the day for our guests. Meals may be taken by delegates at any of the numerous nearby cafes and eateries. Although there will not be an official conference dinner on Saturday, arrangements will be made for delegates and their guests to join one of several informal groups to dine together that evening. Attendees will be able to sign up for a group upon registration. On Sunday there will be an optional informal walk, taking in the masonic and masonic related sites of the area. Details about this excursion will be forthcoming.
We hope to make everyone's journey as smooth as possible, so please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or advice for travel and booking options. For those arriving early to the conference, here are a few visitor suggestions and local attractions that you may enjoy. We also hope you will check out this site, which is a helpful resource for all interested in Masonic research and education. 
Below is a tentative schedule of events for the meeting: 
 ritconf logo
The Patron Saints and the Point Within the Circle
by Roy Mandell and Margaret Schmidt. Oil on canvas. 2014
Commissioned by John Mercer Lodge in Omaha Nebraska
Master of the lodge at the time: Brother David Long
  World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry & History
Schedule of Events
Day One: Friday- May 29, 2015
9:00AM Coffee in the Foyer
9:30 AM Welcome- Grand Auditorium 
Guillermo De los Reyes, Conference Chair
Jean-Loup Graton, Bibliothèque Nationale
Pierre Mollier, Editor- Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society
10:00 AM Keynote Address- Grand Auditorium 
Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor History, University California of Los Angeles-Where do we go From Here?
Introduced by: Paul J. Rich, President, Policy Studies Organization
11:00 AM Special Instrumental Presentation
400 Years of Masonic Music- Special Instrumental Presentation
11:30-11:45 AM Coffee in the Foyer

11:45AM - 12:45 PM Masonic Bibliography, Individual Sessions
Salon One- John Belton, Problems in Masonic Bibliography
Salon TwoThe Masonic Collections of the The Bibliothèque Nationale
12:45 - 2:15 PM Break for Lunch
2:15 - 3:00 PM Plenary Address
John Cooper, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California, President of the North American Conference of Grand Masters- Into the Maelstrom: The Issue of Masonic Regularity, Past and Present
Commentator: Alain Bauer
Chair: Guillermo De Los Reyes
3:00 - 3:30 PM Dance Interpretation of the Initiation
3:30 - 3:45 PM Coffee in the Foyer
3:45- 4:45 PM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: The Masonic Architecture of Paris
Day Two: Saturday- May 30, 2015
9:00 AM Coffee in Foyer
9:30 - 10:45 AM Plenary in Grand Auditorium
Jean-Michel Mathonière, Compagnonnage: Knowledge and Symbols of Knowledge Among Stone Cutters at the End of the Ancien Régime
10:45 - 12: 45 AM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One:
Guillermo De Los Reyes and Paul Rich, Smuggling Masonic Books, Politics and Chaos in the Early Mexican Republic
Salon Two:
Yasha Beresiner, Medieval Guilds of the City of London and their Later Influence on Freemasonry
Chair: Guillermo Izabal
Salon Three: 
Zhenya Gershman, Rembrandt's Secret
Philip Carter, That Which Was Lost- The Third Pillar
Commentator: Goncalo Amaral
12:45 - 2:30 PM Break for Lunch 
2:30 - 3:30 PM Plenary Session
Brent Morris, Henry Andrew Francken's Manuscripts: The Ritual Cornerstone of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
3:30 - 4:30 PM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: John Acaster, The Voyage from Corruption to Harmony: Fresh Insights Into the Inspiration of Noah and 'the primitive' Within Freemasonry
Salon Two: Daniel Gutierrez-Sandoval, Publishing Masonic Books is not that Difficult: A Guide to New Realities 
Commentator: Rex Kallembach
4:30 PM Closing Plenary Session
Sunday- May 31, 2015
~~Informal walking tour of local Masonic sites and architecture (details forthcoming)~~

Monday, October 06, 2014

Indiana Masonic Home Arch Damaged By Driver

From Daily Journal in Franklin, IN:

Franklin police are looking for a driver who smashed through part of the brick arch near the Indiana Masonic Home entrance.
The accident occurred about 4 a.m. Saturday. A woman reported that a man showed up at her home and was intoxicated. He told her he had been in an accident, according to a police report.
He left the house about 5 a.m. and tried to drive away in his damaged truck. The truck was abandoned in the 300 block of East South Street and the driver ran off into the woods when police approached. Police later stopped a vehicle that was circling the area, which was being driven by the mother of the man police were looking for, the police report said. She denied that she was looking for her son, the report said.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Cliff Porter at Lodge Vitruvian in Indianapolis October 28th

Come join us for an evening of fellowship and scholarly discussion on the evening of Tuesday, October 28, 2014 AD, 6014 AL.
We are determined to complete our business in one hour.
7:00 - 8:00 PM Stated Meeting
Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 F&AM
Broad Ripple Masonic Temple
1716 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46220-2338
“In the style of European Lodges, members are expected to dress in tuxedo for all Communications of the Lodge. Members also purchase their own regalia, (apron, collar, gloves, case), according to Lodge Vitruvian specifications.”
Visitors dress in tuxedo, Highland dress, or business attire.
If brethren choose to arrive at Lodge Vitruvian in Highland dress, they should wear a black Argyle Jacket, or Prince Charlie, with a tuxedo shirt and black bow tie, or a Montrose Doublet, and black leather or patent leather shoes.
8:30 - 10:30 PM Festive Board
Capri Italian Ristorante
2602 Ruth Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46240-3283
Keynote Speaker:
W. Bro. Cliff Porter
Subject:
The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry: Alchemy, Gnosis, and the Science of the Craft
Visiting brethren are welcome to join us for the Stated Meeting, ladies and guests are welcome to join us for the Festive Board.
Each attendee will be responsible for the cost of his meal.
In an effort to assist our Secretary, I am requesting dinner reservations from members and guests, and regrets from our members.

Sincerely and fraternally,
carson.c.smith@gmail.com
Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 F&AM
W. Bro. Carson C. Smith
2207 Van Ness Place
Indianapolis, IN 46240-4703
(317) 319-3712 Cell

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Freemasons For Dummies Now An Audio Book

Freemasons For Dummies is now available in an audio version! It is available for preorder and will be shipping on October 20th. The price is $24.95 and is narrated by Tom Dheere. Now you can listen in the car! The book is complete and unabridged.

To order, click here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

California Masonic Symposium Sept 20 and 21 in Two Locations

Please join the Grand Lodge of California for the 14th Annual California Masonic Symposium: Freemasonry and the Creation of the American Republic.

The American Republic is a unique experiment in self-government, and its roots are in part found in the Freemasonry of the 18th century. The 14th Annual California Masonic Symposium will explore how this experiment in self-government has evolved through the years since 1776, and how Masonic principles have continued to guide its development for almost 250 years. The presenters will show that Freemasonry has influenced the course of self-government in several significant ways.
Event Details
The Symposium will be held on two dates and in two locations, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • September 20, 2014 | San Francisco Scottish Rite Masonic Center | 2850 19th Avenue, San Francisco
  • September 21, 2014 | Pasadena Scottish Rite Cathedral | 150 North Madison Avenue, Pasadena  
There are two registration options:
  • Full Symposium Fee | includes symposium and lunch | $30 per person
  • Symposium Only Fee | includes symposium only | $15 per person 
To register, click on the "Registration" button located at the top and bottom of this page.
Presenters' papers and panelists' notes will be published online at freemason.org > member center > masonic education.

About the Symposium
Initiated in 2001, the California Masonic Symposium brings together students of Freemasonry and Masonic scholars in an atmosphere of learning and discussion.  Open to Masons and the public, this event addresses a topic of historical and philosophical relevance to Masonry each year.  Past Symposium topics have included Freemasonry in Mexico and Latin America; Freemasonry and Secret Societies; Issues in Contemporary Freemasonry; The Age of Franklin; The American Enlightenment; Freemasonry and the American Frontier; Freemasonry and Women; Applied Masonry; Masonry, Military and the Emergence of American Democracy; and The Emergence of Speculative Masonry.


The Symposium is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of California, the California Masonic Foundation and the Institute for Masonic Studies.


To register, click here.